HC Deb 28 November 1983 vol 49 c635
1. Mr. Chapman

asked the Secretary of State for Energy what major research projects into alternative sources of energy are presently being undertaken through financial resources made available by the Government both in the United Kingdom and as part of any United Kingdom contribution to the European Community.

The Minister of State, Department of Energy (Mr. Alick Buchanan-Smith)

The United Kingdom, both on its own behalf and as part of the Community programmes, supports a wide range of research projects into alternative sources of energy. Currently the largest expenditure is on the joint European Torus work at Culham, the geothermal experiments in Cornwall and the Orkney windmill.

Mr. Chapman

I thank my right hon. Friend for that information and recognise the significant increases in grants that the Government have made for research into alternative forms of energy. Will my right hon. Friend assure the House that there is no duplication of research work undertaken by different members of the European Community? Does he agree that it is essential that the most effective use is made of the grants available, by ensuring close co-ordination between member Governments?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

I cannot guarantee that there is no duplication, but I agree with my hon. Friend that this is an appropriate matter for co-ordination throughout the Community. I hope my hon. Friend will be encouraged by the fact that the results of all research work supported by the Community are available to member countries. Therefore, we benefit from what happens in other countries.

Mr. Orme

Will the Minister give the figure of proposed Government expenditure and break it down into solar, wind and other forms of alternative energy sources?

Mr. Buchanan-Smith

Yes. The money that we are spending on alternative and renewable sources of energy amounts to £12 million a year and is increasing. It is now four times more than was spent by the Labour Government.

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